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LogIn Project Workshop: Amplifying underrepresented voices in formal philosophy

King’s College London, 26th April 2024

The workshop aims to bring together researchers who work on formal philosophy broadly construed who are either members of traditionally underrepresented groups or who work outside of what is perceived as "traditional’’ topics in logic and formal philosophy. It will be an occasion for dialogue between researchers who identify as members of underrepresented groups in academia and researchers who work on topics generally regarded as non-standard in the academic tradition. 


The workshop will be followed by a panel discussion on how to make formal academic philosophy a more inclusive environment.

The conference will be hybrid, with an option for both online or in-person attendance. 


Participation is free, but registration is required. Simply register by filling in the following form


Deadline for registration: 23rd April 2024.


26th April 2024

Gillian Russell (ANU)
Viviane Fairbank (St Andrews)
Coffee Break
Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Manchester)
Lunch Break
Ivan Restovic (Zagreb)
Sara Uckelman (Durham)
Coffee Break
Helen Meskhidze (Harvard), Francisco Calderón (Michigan), Thomas Colclough (UC Irvine)
Panel Discussion
Conference Dinner

Titles and abstracts

Gillian Russell: "Social Spheres and Generics"

This paper adapts Lewis’ “Ptolemaic Astronomy” for use in thinking about social hierarchy and subordination and then looks at the relationship between the resulting hierarchy-sensitive quantifiers and natural language generics.

Viviane Fairbank: "Toward a feminist pragmatist theory of logic"

Recently, philosophers have turned their attention to the possible intersections of feminism and logic, posing questions such as: Can any or all logics be feminist? If feminist logic exists, then how might it be identified? How one answers these questions will be determined by one’s understanding of logic and of feminism. Given how many controversial questions there are in the philosophy of logic, this is not a trivial remark: many disagreements about feminist logic may turn out to be mere misunderstandings. On the account I propose, feminist philosophy of logic is philosophy of logic that answers and is answerable to feminist philosophy, and feminist logic is a theory of logical consequence that is grounded in feminist philosophy of logic. I show that this definition is inclusive of both historical and contemporary work on feminist logic. Furthermore, it opens the door for new avenues of research. I advocate for one of these possible avenues: a conception of feminist (philosophy of) logic based on feminist pragmatism.

Frederique Janssen-Lauret: Ruth Barcan Marcus’ Contributions to Modal Logic

In the mid-twentieth century, analytic philosophy took a sharp turn away from its previous strong adherence to descriptivism (Frege, Russell) and antimodal extensionalism (Russell, Quine, early Carnap) and towards the directreference theory of names, the necessity of identity, and the many and varied applications of quantified logics of modality. All three had come into the analytic mainstream through the works of one woman, Ruth Barcan Marcus. But analytic philosophers now tend to credit all three to Kripke, or modal logic to Carnap and the others to Kripke (Ballarin, SEP 2021), or even modal logic to Carnap, necessary identity to Quine (Burgess, Synthese 2014). Ruth Barcan (later Ruth Barcan Marcus) published the first quantified modal logic in her mid-twenties, and proved the necessity of identity (Barcan, J. Symb. Logic 1946, 1947). Barcan approached quantified modal logic as a calculus, proof-theoretically. Her system therefore did not assume quantification over possible worlds, as in Kripke’s now more common treatment, and her wellknown Barcan Formula (really a schema) did not imply a possible-world model with constant domains as a result, although Barcan later considered such an interpretation (Barcan Marcus, Synthese 1961). I read Barcan’s 1946-47 modal logic in the context of her wider philosophical views, specifically the empiricist nominalism which informed her arguments for direct-reference theory, which in turn informed her views on identity. I argue against Burgess’ contention that Quine rather than Barcan proved the necessity of identity. In this paper, I further argue that Barcan Marcus’ versions of direct-reference theory, necessary identity, and quantified modal logic were not inferior, but in fact superior, to Kripke’s. First, since she viewed modal discourse about actualia as counterfactual descriptions of actual objects, and modal discourse about possibilia as lengthy but false Russellian descriptions, her view is ontologically parsimonious. Second, Barcan’s account of necessity of identity according to which only directly referential names can flank the identity sign has advantages over Kripke’s ‘rigid designation’ account.

On some models, gender comes in degrees. The most famous such model is the gender spectrum, a continuum ranging from “male” to “female”. Alternatively, some models measure gender categories on separate continua, sometimes including a scale labeled “other genders”. I want to argue that both types of accounts fail to (adequately) represent agender identities, and propose a model that is, in a sense, in between the two. Since the values assigned to gender categories are represented as percentages, they can be analyzed in terms of fuzzy logic. In this framework, the logical opposition between the categories in the gender spectrum is that of fuzzy contradiction, while, in the “multispectral” models, the gender categories are in no logical opposition at all. A better way to adequately represent (the difference between) gender categories may be, I will claim, to oppose them in terms of fuzzy contrariety. Further, I will argue that this opposition fits Val Plumwood’s criteria for a feminist logic, since it avoids the oppressive properties of relational definition, homogenization, and radical exclusion


Helen Meskhidze (joint work with Francisco Calderón and Thomas Colclough): "Feminist and Trauma-Informed Approaches to Teaching Logic"

Recent studies addressing the underrepresentation of women and other underserved groups in philosophy have found that women tend to be especially underrepresented in subfields considered `technical’ or `formal.’ Following Jacquart et al. (2019), we believe ameliorating this underrepresentation requires us to move beyond recruitment efforts and consider shifts in pedagogy. Here, we present the methodology and results of a pilot study on two introductory logic courses, examining whether feminist- and trauma-informed interventions helped ameliorate the effects of structural injustice. To assess the effectiveness of our interventions, we designed a survey similar to those used in mathematics. Students self-reported their perceptions of the broader applicability of logic, the objective nature of logic, their self-efficacy with respect to logic, and their anxiety around grades. We found that while successful in enhancing self-efficacy and reducing the perception of logic's objectivity, the interventions did not significantly improve perceptions of the broader applicability of logic.

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